Examining North Africa Terrorist Threat To Energy Infrastructure


By Jennifer Giroux

In the last decade, major terrorist attacks such as the 9/11 attacks in the United States (US) and the Madrid train bombings have catapulted international terrorism to the top of national security priorities around the globe and bring to light the massive devastation, civilian losses and fear that terrorism can cause. Moreover, images of civilian casualties in these dramatic attacks have influenced our perception of the targeting choices of today’s terrorist groups where civilian targets are largely associated with nearly all terrorist attacks. This view, however, is not supported by the available data on terrorist attack where, according to the United States (US) National Counterterrorism Center’s WITS terrorism database and the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), many non-state violent groups carry out attacks that commonly avoid civilian targets. In fact, a significant and in fact increasing number of attacks are on energy infrastructure (this includes oil, gas, and electrical infrastructure as well as energy sector employees).

Examining this trend more closely shows that in 2003, roughly 25 per cent of terrorist attacks were aimed at the energy sector. Notably, this number has jumped to 30 and 35 per cent between 2003 and 2007 – the long-term trend revealing more attacks aimed at energy infrastructure (EI) occurring annually. With oil accounting for nearly “40% of the world’s energy and 96% of its transportation”, the protection of EI has thus become a top priority for most industrialized nations.[2] Efforts have been made to enhance the protection of these assets throughout North America and the European Union (EU) but the most significant sites of oil and gas exploration and production are increasingly located in politically unstable countries that are marred by poor economic and social conditions.[3] Additionally, the benefits that come with attacking the energy sector have risen considerably in the 21st century as such events generate widespread media attention and can create broad economic turbulence – translated into higher global energy costs – due to the energy market’s interconnected nature, growing demand, and short-term supply shortages.

The African continent – which retains 10 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves and 12 per cent of the proven gas reserves – contains twelve countries that are currently net exporters of oil; the top producers being Nigeria, Algeria, Libya, and Angola. A closer look, however, reveals that Africa’s web of oil and gas pipelines and critical facilities are oftentimes built within hostile regions that are home to domestic conflicts and transnational terrorist groups. North Africa (NA), specifically, is an important source of energy – mainly gas – for European nations, particularly Spain, Italy, and France who are dependent on NA gas supplies to meet much of their energy needs. However, in line with the trend described herein, resources in this region are threatened by ongoing conflict and politically motivated violent groups, such as Al-Qa`ida of the Islamic Maghreb, who have begun to threaten and/or attack the energy sector in this sensitive region. In light of these developments, this paper sets out to examine the changing global scenario within the energy security environment and highlights the threat to EI in Northern Africa and the implications this has for its European neighbors.

A changing scenario

Since the 1980s, energy infrastructure (EI) has been used as a strategic weapon and symbolic economic target by various non-state armed groups operating in many largely fragile countries. But while targeting EI is not an entirely new phenomenon, the 21st century has opened the door to a world where local events have global consequences, communication and information move rapidly through a variety of media, financial systems are intertwined, and developing nations that once struggled now compete for vital natural resources to feed their burgeoning economies. According to the US State Department, between 1996 and 2004, there were at least 80 terrorist attacks against oil companies worldwide that resulted in kidnappings, casualties, damages, and large monetary losses.[4] As seen in Figure 1, however, attacks aimed at energy resources are on a steady incline over the long-term and have jumped considerably in the last five years.[5]

The trend further reveals that not only are such resources being targeted both inside and outside of conflict zones,[7] but the energy sector is increasingly sensitive to any disruptions, whether perceived or real, due to a number of factors that relate to the ‘peaking’ of supply. Such factors include increased demand by growing developing economies as well as continued robust demand from developed countries, short-term supply shortages, tight production characteristics (little spare capacity for oil production) and lack of growth in OPEC production between 2005 and 2007, accelerated speculation, higher costs for oil exploration and development (much of which is being conducted in deepwater, offshore locations), a weaker US dollar, and increased commodity prices. In short, higher energy costs have been a result of market fears that rising demand will eventually outgrow available supply.[8] These concerns are reinforced by threats to energy supplies. The current climate where crude prices have dropped beneath US$40 per barrel[9] due to circumstances arising from the global credit crunch, largely decreased demand that have led to oversupply, is temporary. OPEC has already begun to make cuts to its supply so to create tighter supply characteristics, in an effort to keep oil prices around US$40-50 per barrel during this downturn. Once the global economy recovers, however, and demand resumes its ascension, oil prices will rise most likely to new heights.[10] Hence in the long-term markets will continue to be sensitive to disruptions.

While market-related factors, such as tighter supply chains and changes in demand, are the primary areas that dictate global energy costs, other events such as geopolitical turbulence and threats of any kind to the oil infrastructure create uncertainty and also weigh into pricing.[11] Such uncertainty results in a security premium being placed on oil prices. According to international energy consultant Dr. Gal Luft, “whether perpetuated for political or criminal reasons, assaults on oil infrastructure have added a ‘fear premium’ of roughly US$10 per barrel of oil.” Thus a single energy ‘event’ can create “shockwaves through the world energy order, push prices up or down, and set off tectonic shifts in global wealth and power.”[12] Thus, while the EI has been targeted for many years in various countries, the effects of attacks have only recently generated more attention.

Grasping the trends

Elements of EI, such as oil pipelines and electrical pylons, are oftentimes easily accessible and present the perfect “soft” target that can result in economic damage and losses if attacked.[13] A global snapshot of recent EI events reveals that various armed groups have incorporated EI into their attacks. Within Asia, since the 1980s the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has threatened and carried out sporadic attacks on oil and gas pipelines in Turkey and northern Iraq – the most recent of which was the bombing of the newly constructed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. In Pakistan, Baloch militias have also carried out numerous attacks against power transmission lines and gas installations resulting in disruptions to electricity in the Punjab region, whereas in nearby India the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) have claimed credit for a series of pipeline attacks in 2006.  Russia is not immune from such events as demonstrated in 2004 when Chechen terrorists attacked several pipelines near Moscow, Volgograd, and Stavropol. A half a world away in North and South America, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN) have carried out repeated attacks on Colombia’s Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline, which transports on average 35,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Arauca province to the Caribbean coast. The most recent attack occurred in June 2008 and resulted in a temporary suspension of production activities.  Further north in Mexico a string of oil and gas pipeline attacks carried out during 2007 by EPR militants resulted in supply shortages, economic losses, and damages, while news of the attacks caused natural gas futures to increase.

But turning to the threat posed by violent Islamist groups reveals the increasing appeal of EI attacks. In February 2003, members of a violent Muslim extremist group who had realized the value of attacking the EI published an online call to the “mujahideen of all Arab and Muslim countries in which the West has military bases or are involved in the energy industry, to rise against these interests in the name of the Muslim Ummah.” Al-Qa`ida (AQ), which had previously opposed targeting oil in the Middle East, followed suit and announced a major shift in the group’s strategy in late 2004 by calling on members to “Do everything you can to stop the biggest plundering operation in history – the plundering of the resources of the present and future generations in collusion with the agents and the aliens […] Be active and prevent them from reaching the oil, and mount your operations accordingly, particularly in Iraq and the Gulf.”[14] Such a statement is stark contrast to previous ones made by Osama bin Laden who acknowledged the strategic importance of the energy sector. In the 1996 “Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places” bin Laden rejected EI attacks and called on followers “to protect this (oil) wealth and not to include it in the battle as it is a great Islamic wealth and a large economical power essential for the soon to be established Islamic state, by Allah’s Permission and Grace.”[15] However, it should be noted that AQ had begun exploring attacks on energy infrastructure in 2002 when it attacked the Limburg, a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen carrying 397,000 barrels of crude. In its statement claiming credit for the attack, AQ made sure to point out that the incident “was not an incidental strike at a passing tanker but […] on the international oil-carrying line in the full sense of the word.”[16]

By 2005, a jihadist website featured the report the “Map of Future Al-Qaeda Operations,” which essentially called for more attacks on EI and stated that such targets should be a priority for AQ. [17]  With the presence of such a strategic resource in their own neighborhood, AQ and other violent groups realized that they did not need to carry out all attacks in Europe or North America in order to generate global attention and cause economic damage to these regions. This change in strategy and call for more attacks against EI coupled with increased volatility in the Middle East and elsewhere, has resulted in a jump in security premiums from US$2 to $15 per barrel depending on event.[18] For example, following an April 2008 attack on a Japanese oil tanker off the coast of Yemen, sweet crude rose to a record US$117.40 per barrel.[19] Shortly after, another attack in May 2008 on an oil refinery in Aden, Yemen resulted in prices increasing to US$122.80 per barrel.  When al-Qaida attempted to attack the Abqaiq oil facility in Saudi Arabia in February 2006, the attempt alone drove oil prices up by US$2 per barrel.[20] More recently, AQ affiliates have carried out attacks on oil installations in Yemen, including a June 2008 attack on the Safir oil refinery and a subsequent video of the attack posted online.[21]

Al-Qa`ida’s shift in targeting selection has implications for the Northern African energy security market. As briefly noted NA provides much needed energy resources to its European neighbors as the EU receives 30 per cent of its gas needs from Algeria alone. Thus even the threat to such resources can create future market insecurity and, in a worst case scenario, disrupt supply.  With AQ affiliates, such as AQIM, operating throughout the region and other politically motivated armed groups seeing the value in EI attacks, the threat to the energy sector is real and in many cases has already been articulated through attacks aimed at the energy sector in Algeria and Sudan. The following section begins by examining the situation in Algeria and the growing jihadist threat that has taken aim at the energy sector. Sudan will also be discussed as it highlights another regional case where armed groups have attacked EI as a platform to air their grievances to a larger audience.


From 1991 until 2002, civil war raged in Algeria between the government and several Islamic insurgent groups, such as the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). Foreign workers were killed during the war, and Muslim extremist rebels warned foreign companies investing in the oil sector to withdraw from the country or face serious damage to their installations. Nevertheless, until 1995, the “government-owned Sonatrach hydrocarbon company had escaped the violence that has killed an estimated 30,000 Algerians in three years of strife, largely because its oil and gas operations represent the economic lifeblood of all sides in the conflict. Both the government and the Muslim extremists trying to topple it acknowledge that 95 percent of Algeria’s foreign exchange earnings come from the petroleum sector.”[22] Another group, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), had little chance of threatening EI, since at that time it did not control the territory through which pipelines ran. Starting in 1995, however, rebels began to attack energy infrastructure assets. As one Western oil executive at the time commented on the insurgent groups: “Something has changed […] It could be they are trying to raise the stakes.”[23] Despite a seeming increase of attacks against energy infrastructure and production sites, Algeria’s hydrocarbon industry grew rapidly. As the Financial Post observed, Sonatrach had signed more than a dozen lucrative exploration agreements with international oil companies, which have already spent roughly US$400 million on these projects.[24]

Heavy protection of pipelines and facilities and the location of oil and gas fields have largely provided much of the buffer needed to dissuade attacks and/or limit damage. With the stream of revenues provided by Algeria’s hydrocarbon resources and the political volatility, the government was quick to learn that extensive protection of infrastructure was needed and worthwhile. Also, most of the oil and gas is found far south of Algiers in the Eastern Sahara, whereas most of the fighting took place in the north and the government controls travel to the oil and gas producing region by requiring a special permits. As Porter notes, “Unlike southern Iraq or Nigeria’s delta states where insurgents attack those countries’ important oil sectors in order to call attention to their grievances and advance their political agenda, the key oil and gas producing areas in Algeria are in the south of the country and are far from population centers.”[25] However, much vulnerability continues to exist at ports – located in heavily populated areas such as Algiers, Oran, Arzew and Skikda – where oil and gas is lifted for transport and Algeria’s main gas liquefaction installation is located in Skikda.

The 2006 merger of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) with Al-Qa`ida, now known as Al-Qa1ida of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), marked a revival in the Algerian Islamist militant movement.   In 2006 and 2007, respectively, suspected AQIM militants bombed a natural gas pipeline – with the earlier attack temporarily cutting off supply through that line. Other EI related attacks have involved bombing buses carrying employees for the oil sector. Overall, this points to an emerging trend within Algeria to target the energy sector by attacking soft, mobile targets and puts this strategy in harmony with AQ’s call to attack energy resources. However, the attacks on EI are relatively few compared to campaigns in other states and analysts suspect that this may be due to a split within the group between those that “want to bring the group’s objectives into line with the broader global al-Qaeda movement and those who want to retain the group’s “Algerianist” orientation.”[26] In the short-term it appears that while sporadic EI attacks will occur, mainly on softer targets, most attacks will focus on government targets.

Yet as energy supply channels tighten and global demand surges, the threats aimed at Algeria’s energy sector have great potential to create the perception of vulnerability which will in turn influence pricing. In addition, non-state armed groups, like AQIM, continue to change, innovate and prove their ability to circumvent security measures by carrying out asymmetric attacks. The Nigerian-based Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has carried out repeated attacks (an estimated 60 to 70 annually) on EI in Nigeria since 2006, gaining international notoriety and causing production to be cut by 20 to 25 percent (around 4-600,000 barrels per day). The Northern African groups, who operate within this energy rich region, may see the effects of such attacks and in turn step up and launch more organized and systematic blows to the energy sector. As noted in a 2007 Rand Corporation report, “Chaos and anarchy could threaten production or give rise to short-term strategies of disruption, including terrorist attacks on production facilities and pipelines.”[27] Algeria’s increasing significance as a European and U.S. energy supplier makes such threats even more concerning.


Since its independence in 1955, Sudan experienced intermittent civil war as a result of economic and political inequalities that were fueled by the divisions between the dominant Arab-Muslim population to the north and a non-Arab, mostly Christian population to the south. Temporary peace in the 1970s, which allowed oil development and exploration to commence, was followed by a resumption of hostilities in 1983 that quickly halted production activities.[28] The discovery of oil, while not the root cause of conflict in Sudan, added another conflict dimension to a volatile region that is torn over economic resource distribution. As Kot aptly noted, “Since oil, like all strategic resources, is a source of power, it illogically becomes an important element in the conflict (1992: 104).” In the case of the conflict in Sudan, the oil region lies in the coveted territory dividing the north and south of the country. Due to the civil war, oil development was suspended until 1997 when peace, albeit a temporary one, was reached. However, it did not take long for conflict to resume, and the energy sector took center stage and soon became a valuable target for the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the main rebel group based in the south that fought the government until 2005.

Compared to the campaign of violence in Nigeria, attacks on Sudanese EI have been modest, primarily due to a concerted effort to protect facilities situated in the midst of the conflict zone. But while armed groups have not been able to cause major disruptions, they have managed to limit exploration and development activities through a sustained campaign to destabilize the oil-producing southern region. The first EI attack was recorded in September 1999 – shortly after Sudan began exporting oil – when SPLA rebels bombed a large pipeline that carried oil to a Red Sea coastal facility.[29] While this attack did not cause major damage, it was meant to “deprive the Sudanese government of funds with which to keep itself in power and to finance its war effort against rebels in the south of the country,” according to an SPLA spokesman.[30]

Following the initial attack in 1999, the SPLA continued to carry out smaller EI attacks, all of which were either unsuccessful or resulted in little damage. Between 2000 and 2001, the SPLA managed to launch five successful attacks on installations in the Western Upper Nile. Following a June 2001 warning to oil companies advising them to withdraw from the region, the SPLA ambushed a government-escorted convoy that was carrying oil company equipment.[31] Shortly after this attack, the SPLA claimed credit for a raid on the Heglig oil field, stating that “extensive damage was inflicted […] the production and flow of the oil came to a complete halt. The main central pumping station and fuel stores were destroyed.”[32] While the government denied this event, Talisman confirmed the attack but noted that little damage had occurred.

From 2001–2004, the SPLA continued its campaign with an intensified effort to cause disruptions to the energy sector by firing rockets, bombing pipelines, kidnapping oil workers, and ambushing convoys. In one attack, the SPLA had reportedly blocked the route between Juba and Malakal, “making the eastern area of Unity State non-operational […] to all traffic, whether oil companies or government of Sudan security.”[33] In a 2004 attack, Sudanese rebels targeted an oil field and stated that they “chose the oil fields because this is the wealth of Sudan, which this government is not sharing with all of its people.”[34]

The SPLA has also repeatedly accused the central government in Khartoum of using oil revenues to finance the war; however, in response to this claim, Sudan’s first vice-president, Ali Osman Taha, stated: “We do not use the proceeds from petroleum in the civil war,” instead claiming that the government was “directing those revenues towards development and services.” However, in 2000, a government official in the south resigned over the mismanagement of funds and the lack of resources to address development needs, noting that the “oil revenues were intensifying the war in the south.”[35] Today, Sudan is once again attempting to maintain peace.  However, such efforts are incredibly sensitive and in many regions violence continues – especially in Darfur. The oil industry is still a major target as demonstrated in an October 2008 attack when Darfur rebels abducted nine Chinese oil workers at an oil field, operated by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company near Abyei in southern Sudan.[36] The rebels, who have accused China of indirectly helping the central government fund military operations with oil revenues, demanded a share in the oil wealth.[37] The oil resources will continue to be a major issue in this region and drive the region back into war if the socio-economic situation does not improve.

Conclusion: Indications and Counter-Measures

Terrorist attacks carried out by radical Islamist groups within the EU borders are a concern and measures to prevent future catastrophic attacks must continue. However, as North Africa becomes a more significant supplier of energy to Western Europe, threats to the energy infrastructure in this region must also be considered.  As discussed, due to the 21st century energy picture EI attacks, or the threat of, can lead to uncertainty amongst market players and overall insecurity that raises global energy costs – thus placing additional budgetary pressures on states and consumers. The worst case scenario being that attacks can affect supply along a key route.   The natural gas found within the Maghreb is of particular importance to its European neighbors as gas is a regional commodity – thus disruptions that originate in the Maghreb will affect the regional supply chain. The events in Algeria show that there is an interest by AQIM to attack the energy sector; however, there has not been a broader campaign as seen in Sudan or in more extreme cases such as Nigeria or Iraq.

To counter this trend and the inflexibility of the current energy environment, states need to adopt a multifaceted approach. In the long-term, the EU needs to make a concerted effort to diversify its energy portfolio, develop domestic energy sources and invest in alternative energies so not to rely so heavily on oil and gas from unstable neighborhoods. In the short-term however, not only should states address the issue of disruption to energy flows by assisting in the fortification of facilities, but they must also work with the media and financial markets that react to such threats. Energy security can also be improved by increasing global strategic stockpiles in consumer countries[38] and hence the international community – lead by North America and the EU – must press for capacity increases to mitigate the consequences of disruptions.[39]

In addition, oil and gas importing countries can allocate much-needed aid to producing countries – such as Sudan and Algeria– who struggle with securing energy resources. European countries, for instance, could provide funding for costly technology to enhance the security of pipelines and facilities. Other assistance can come in the form of military training, funding police and community patrols, and strengthening capacity and facilities.[40] In Iraq, the US helped fund 14,000 security guards that were placed in critical locations along major pipelines and at facilities. Similar efforts are underway in the Gulf of Guinea and off Somalia’s coast where NATO, the EU and the US Navy, respectively, have provided assistance in maritime security.  Southern Europe, who relies on gas supplies from Northern Africa, may also require the assistance of NATO to help protect key installations in the Maghreb. While important, military support may suppress violence aimed at EI but it will not take it completely out of the equation therefore community engagement is also a key element. For example the Algerian extremist groups rely heavily on community support to continue their violent campaign. Should EI attacks be deemed unfavorable within the community then AQIM may continue to avoid serious attacks on EI.  Communities can also serve as the eye’s and ear’s for intelligence officials and alert them when such attacks are being planned or, in some cases, who perpetrated the act. In closing, with many new energy sites being discovered offshore and oil tankers traversing over uncertain waters, such external state support will continue to be an important element in securing supplies located in unstable regions.

Jennifer Giroux is a social scientist who focuses on political violence and energy security. This article originally appeared in the January 2009, published under the orginal title, TARGETING ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE: EXAMINING THE THREAT IN NORTH AFRICA AND BROADER IMPLICATIONS, edition of the Circunstancia Journal published by the Fundacíon José Ortega y Gasset


[1] Perl, R.F. 2008. Protecting critical energy infrastructures against terrorist attacks: threats, challenges and opportunities for international co-operation. Reinforced NATO Economic Committee Meeting. September 22 Available at: http://www.osce.org/documents/atu/2008/09/33084_en.pdf.

[2] Luft, G., 2005. Pipeline sabotage is terrorist’s weapon of choice. Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) Energy Security. 25 March. Available at: .

[3] The world’s most significant sites of oil and gas exploration and production are located in increasingly politically unstable locations, such as Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, Sudan, and Venezuela.

[4] Lindsay, M., 2005. The Security Threat to Oil Companies in and out of Conflict Zones, Business Briefing: Exploration and Production: The Oil & Gas Review, 2.

[5] Iraqi Pipeline Watch ; Nigeria: oil infrastructure, delta militants and increased attacks. Stratfor. 30 July 2008.

[6] This data was compiled using data gathered from the Global Terrorism Database. Additional monitoring was performed to capture attacks that may have not been included in the GTD. The data for 2007 is still being gathered and thus 2007 attacks may be slightly higher than currently listed. Indeed, many of the attacks between June 2003 and March 2008 occurred in Iraq.  There have been 469 attack aimed at Iraqi energy infrastructure (2003 = 37; 2004 = 148; 2005 = 100; 2006 = 101; 2007=59; 2008 = 4). However the sustained attacks in Nigeria and EI attacks in other regions during this period have also contributed to the dramatic rise. The recent attacks in Yemen and increasing piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia (which have targeted oil tankers) have also contributed to the increase.

[7] Attacks by Kataeb Jund al-Yemen (Soldiers of Yemen Brigades – an affiliate of AQ) against oil facilities in Yemen and attempted attacks on Saudi facilities, both non-conflict zones, are indications that non-state armed groups can achieve global energy disruptions by targeting installations in their home territory where they can take advantage of security deficits and more local support. Zambelis, C. 2006. Attacks in Yemen reflect al-Qaeda’s global oil strategy. Terrorism Monitor 6(17).

[8] The International Energy Agency has noted that oil could peak as early as 2020. Macalister, T. &  Monbiot, G. 2008.. Global oil supply will peak in 2020 says energy agency. The Guardian, 15 December. Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/dec/15/global-oil-supply-peak-2020-prediction

[9] At the time of publication, crude prices were slowly climbing and hovering around US$40 per barrel.

[10] IEA 2005: Oil Market Report. International Energy Agency. 12 April. According to the IEA, between the1980s to 2003/04 oil demand rose consistently and thus pushed oil inventories to lower levels. This tight supply coupled with the geopolitical uncertainties and the increased market speculation related to these uncertainties that have characterized the last decade have been the chief reason why prices have increased so dramatically.

[11] For example, a war in an oil-producing country, poor weather conditions (such as tropical storms) in oil-producing region, or direct attacks on the EI all create uncertainty in the market that can result in price volatility.

[12] Roberts, P. 2005. The end of oil. The decline of the petroleum economy and the rise of the new energy order. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 93.

[13] Nuclear facilities, which are typically located in relatively stable and developed nations, have not been targeted. In addition, these facilities are ‘hard’ targets that are operationally challenging to attack. Hydroelectric facilities, on the other hand, were targeted by Sendero Luminoso (The Shining Path) in Peru and caused a city-wide blackout in 1983. The vast networks of interrelated facilities in the petroleum and natural gas industries, however, are more accessible targets and require less investment.

[14] Website Posts Full Version of New Audiotape Attributed to Bin Ladin, FBIS Report – FEA20041227000762, December 27, 2004.

[15] PBS Online NewsHour. 1996. Bin Laden’s Fatwa. Available at www.pbs.org/newshour/terrorism/international/fatwa_1996.html.

[16] Daly, J.C.K. 2006. Saudi Oil Facilities: Al-Qaeda’s Next Target? Terrorism Monitor vol. 4, no. 4. 23 February 2006.

[17] At-Taqwa, Z. Al Qaeda and the Battle for Oil. Available at: http://www.alqimmah.net/showthread.php?t=1226.

[18] Zambelis, 2008.

[19] Fackler, M. 2008. Oil market rattled by attack on Japanese tanker. International Herald Tribune. 21 April. Available at: http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/21/asia/22tanker.php

[20] BBC News Online. 2006. Saudis foil oil facility attack. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4747488.stm. It should be noted that such attacks have little chance for success with Saudi Arabia spending between US$1.2 to 1.5 billion annually to protect its oil and gas industry; however in this case we see that even the threat to supplies resulted in a jump in prices

[21] “Saudis ‘foil oil facility attack’”. BBC News. 24 February 2006. Available at: . Video available at: .

[22] United Press International. 1995. Algeria facing increased sabotage. May 12.

[23] Ibid.

[24] The Financial Post. 1995. Algeria’s hydrocarbon industry grows despite unrest. August 4: 37.

[25] Porter, G. 2007. Islamist terrorism and energy sector security in Algeria. The Terrorism Monitor, 5 (12). June 21. Available at: http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/uploads/TM_005_012.pdf.

[26] Ibid

[27] Rand Corporation. 2007. Persian Gulf Security. Improving Allied Military Contributions. P.24.

[28] In 1978, Chevron discovered oil near Bentiu and Heglig, in southern Sudan

[29] Muir. J. 1999. World: African rebels attack Sudan oil pipeline. BBC News. 21 September. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/453552.stm

[30] Ibid.

[31] Blanche, E. 2001. Sudan: oil fuels internal unrest. The Middle East. Available at: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2742/is_2001_Oct/ai_n25037107/pg_2?tag=artBody;col1

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Luft, 2005.

[35] Blanche, 2001.

[36] BBC News. 2008. China workers abducted in Sudan. October 19. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7678829.stm

[37] Ibid. At the time of writing, the fate of the victims was not known.

[38] Schmid, A.P. 2007. Targeting oil and other energy resources and infrastructure. MIPT.

[39] Ibid. Capacity increases can help cushion market sensitivity. For example, despite continued turmoil in Nigeria’s oil-producing region, the price of oil has been declining steadily since August 2008 due to decreased demand from a slowing global economy. Even with OPEC cutting production down in addition to instability in oil-producing regions, the market is cushioned by the, perceived, healthy supply.

[40] Such security measures can involve: burying pipelines, hardening the pipeline against corrosion, increasing patrols and security forces for facilities, security cameras, etc. Technology is another important investment that can provide better protection. Developments using seismic sensing of underground vibrations can identify whether unauthorized personnel are near a pipeline – thus preventing sabotage.

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